Planning a wedding can be stressful, and for many LGBTQ+ couples, even more so. Trying to navigate traditions that aren’t very inclusive can add difficulty to an already challenging task. Rather than focus on the obstacles, many partners are now choosing to reinvent tradition and design a wedding that suits their unique love story.
Forget the stuffy rules and give yourself the creative freedom to decide who will walk down the aisle in what order, what fabulous outfits each of you will wear, if you both want to carry flowers, etc. Are you dreaming of a bright rainbow-filled wedding? Go for it! Prefer a more subdued pastel palette? Be true to your style.
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There’s something so amazing about being your authentic self in front of all your family and friends. Do not be afraid to share who you are and who you love. It’s your time to shine and celebrate this moment. Here are ten ideas for infusing LGBTQ+ pride into your wedding day, from bold décor to more subtle nods:
1. Choose Inclusive Wedding Vendors
The last thing you want on your wedding day is to feel judged about your choices or identity. Hiring LGBTQ+ vendors is a great way to use your purchasing power to support the community and find respectful and inclusive businesses.
This is especially important when selecting your officiant; you want someone supportive of marriage equality who will join you together in a harmonious way. Sites like WeddingWire and The Knot make it easy for you to filter by LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
If you’re having difficulty finding businesses in your area that fit the bill, expand your search to owners who are vocal gay allies. EquallyWed is another excellent resource for inclusive wedding hires.
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2. Wear Your Pride on Your Sleeve
From the days of voguing down a catwalk to now, fashion has played a prominent role in the LGBTQ+ community. For your big day, you deserve to look and feel fabulous. This means ditching heteronormative style standards and wearing attire that fits your personality, whether it’s a dress, jumpsuit, skirt, or suit. You and your partner can match or go in opposite directions; it’s up to you.
Many couples shop together and coordinate color palettes or looks, then get ready together the morning of their wedding (it’s a great way to streamline planning and save, too!). Whether you go this route or decide to surprise your soon-to-be spouse with what you’ll be wearing, they are sure to be wowed by your beauty.
Let your LGBTQ+ pride show with bold-colored clothing or accessories like rainbow cufflinks, socks, ties, shoe soles, handkerchiefs, or floral crowns. Are you wearing a white dress or suit? Get crafty and dip-dye the bottom of your clothing in an ombre rainbow, or add colored gems or pearls to your veil. Prefer something more subtle? Add a pride pin to your lapel or bouquet.
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3. Groove to Your Favorite LGBTQ+ Artists
Get everyone on the dance floor by honoring your favorite LGBTQ+ musicians. Some of our favorites include “Love is Love” by Culture Club, “She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert, “I Was Born to Love You” by Queen, and “Something about the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John, but there are so many wonderful artists to choose from. Use Spotify to search LGBTQ+ playlists or find songs from inclusive artists like Madonna, Cher, Rihanna, Diana Ross, Lady Gaga, or Cyndi Lauper.
Prefer a live band? Search the sites we mentioned earlier for LGBTQ+-friendly musicians who can tailor songs to you and your partner’s preferences. Don’t forget the ceremony music either, especially if you feel like dancing down the aisle.
4. Donate for Equality
Skip traditional favors that often get left behind and support a cause you care about instead. Consider making a donation in your guest’s name to your favorite LGBTQ+ charity. It’s a great way to show support, do some good, and add a personal touch to your wedding.
The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the National Center for Transgender Equality are popular charities. GuideStar is an excellent resource if you want to do more research about a nonprofit’s impact.
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5. Taste the Rainbow
One of our favorite ways to incorporate rainbow accents is with something edible. This can be your wedding cake, dessert, signature drinks, entrée, or appetizer. Whether you choose tiers of colorful cupcakes, rainbow cookies, sprinkled donuts, or vibrant macarons, sweet treats are perfect for displaying your pride as boldly or subtly as you want.
We also love the look of an elegant wedding cake with rainbow layers inside. It makes for a fun photo op once you cut into it. Top it off with a cute cake topper of you and your spouse, your pronouns, or an on-theme acrylic cut-out.
Work with your caterer to create art gallery-worthy dishes filled with vibrant rainbow-colored vegetables or accented with edible flowers. Then set up your bar with signature “Taste the Rainbow” cocktails made from grenadine, peach schnapps, vodka, blue curacao, and pineapple juice to get the party started.
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6. Exchange Sweet Words
One of the most meaningful ways to celebrate your love and infuse some pride is with a ceremony reading or vows that honor LGBTQ+ persons or focus on marriage equality. We love this quote from Maya Angelou: Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
Other favorites are Tennessee Williams: “What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains,” or Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Hodges v. Obergefell, recognizing same-sex marriage as a right granted by the Constitution.
Think about your favorite song lyrics, book quotes, theatrical lines, or poems. There’s no wrong way to express yourself when speaking about the person you love.
7. Show Respect for All LGBTQ+ Identities
Being LGBTQ+ is just one part of who you are. You shouldn’t be defined by your sexuality or gender alone. One way to show pride is by being mindful of all identities and avoiding labels that can make someone feel marginalized.
The wedding industry is very gendered, so being considerate and respectful is a nice way to stand out while leading by example. This can mean everything from asking guests’ pronouns to having gender-neutral bathrooms or more inclusive wedding parties.
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8. Add Pops of Vibrant Color
We’ve already covered some ideas for celebrating pride through your catering and clothing, but we can’t miss all the fun ways to incorporate it into your wedding day décor too. We’ve seen reception tables with bright floral centerpieces, colorful runners, or rainbow tassels hanging overhead.
Colorful taper candles down a long table or rows of rainbow-colored velvet chairs are another great way to put marriage equality on full display. Add some picture perfection with rainbow smoke bombs, a backdrop with colorful balloons, or a neon rainbow on a fern or floral wall. You can also add rotating color uplights to set the mood throughout the room.
If you have a couple’s photo session booked, grab some rainbow confetti and throw it in the air, wrap yourselves in a pride flag, or use chalk to express yourself.
9. Say it Loud & Proud
Once your wedding invitations get mailed out, it all starts to feel very real. Kick-off this step by only inviting guests who want to be there to support and celebrate your love. This isn’t the day to worry about obligation invites or judgy comments.
You might even want to add an inclusion statement to your website to set the tone before your Big Day. Add couple photos to your site and use it as an opportunity to let guests in on your unique love story.
For the day of, have fun with signage and cute sayings. Encourage everyone to get to know each other by placing a ceremony entrance sign letting guests know there are no “sides.” You all are family from this day forward, after all! We especially love when guests are seated in a circle or heart for a ceremony where no one has a bad view.
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10. Give it a Personal Spin
Your wedding marks the beginning of the next chapter in your life, so be sure to put a personal spin on it. Feel free to incorporate your cultural or religious traditions, but if those things don’t speak to you, then make them your own!
Think about ways to symbolize your LGBTQ+ union that are meaningful to you, like a sand ceremony in eye-catching colors or a rainbow ribbon handfasting. Create a work of art as your guestbook by using circular acrylics with colorful glitter or flowers pressed between them, or have guests leave their fingerprints behind in dipped rainbow paints.
Take your reception up a notch with a rainbow-hued ball pit or celebratory pinata. Then ask your guests to let a colorful cadre of lanterns loose into the sky or send you off in style with rainbow sparklers.